When and where
Date and time
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
About this event
“We’re part of a long train ride,” is the way Peter Yarrow visualizes the many events that have highlighted a career spanning more than five decades. With characteristic care, Yarrow places the success he’s had within a greater context, seeing his accomplishments as part of a tradition, to be credited as his inspiration and carried on. “When I was in high school,” he recalls, “I heard The Weavers at Carnegie Hall singing songs like ‘If I Had a Hammer’ ‘Follow The Drinking Gourd’ and ‘Wasn’t That a Time.’ I was stunned by the extraordinary effect that music of conscience can have on people, particularly when they sing songs of conscience together.” That lesson launched Peter on a lifelong journey that is now, perhaps, in its most vital phase.
Over the years, many issues have moved Peter to commit his time and talent: equal rights, peace, the environment, gender equality, homelessness, hospice care, public broadcasting and education. All have utilized his skills as both a performer and an organizer. Along with his singing partners, (Noel) Paul and Mary, Peter became deeply committed to the Civil Rights Movement, which brought them to Washington in 1963 to sing at the historic August 28, 1963 March On Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the equally historic Selma-Montgomery March in 1965. When the Civil Rights Movement merged its efforts into the Peace/Anti-Vietnam War Movement, Peter produced numerous large events including peace concerts at Madison Square Garden and Shea Stadium with tens of performers. These efforts culminated in his co-organizing with Cora Weiss, his friend and ally and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, the famous1969 “Celebration of Life,” a march and demonstration in Washington, DC attended by a half-million people who demanded an end to America’s military involvement in Vietnam.
A concert by Peter, today, is exciting, moving and entertaining, but it is also an event that follows in the tradition of his early mentors, The Weavers and Pete Seeger. Peter intentionally uses his music to create a community of acceptance from the stage, an “oasis of peace” as he calls it. His gift for songwriting has produced some of the most poignant songs Peter, Paul & Mary have recorded, including “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “Day is Done,” “Light One Candle,” and “The Great Mandala.” As a member of the renowned musical trio, he has earned many gold and platinum albums and has been awarded and nominated for numerous Grammys.
Nurturing and validating the talents of new songwriters who, as Peter describes, “write from the heart” – as opposed to focusing on the marketplace – has been central to Peter’s journey throughout his career. In 1962, he became a founding board member of the Newport Folk Festival, and in that context conceived of and hosted a special Sunday afternoon concert dedicated to emerging folk performers and songwriters. The New Folk Concert gave important early recognition to artists such as Buffy St. Marie, Eric Anderson and Tim Hardin.
Peter Yarrow’s life and work, culminating in the founding and leadership of Operation Respect, embraces the premise that if each person finds a way to articulate his or her own voice and joins with others, together they can become a powerful force for society’s transformation. “We’ve lived through a time in which people have felt they could forge their own future and make a better world. We may not have achieved our dreams in the time frame that we once believed was possible, but the magnitude of what is yet to be achieved only confirms the importance of our continuing commitment. Knowing this, we can’t stop now.”